KAMPALA – The Ministry of Health has entered into a partnership Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, to improve sickle cell care in Uganda.
Novartis is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies globally and manufactures hydroxyurea- a sickle cell disease transforming therapy. Studies have shown that this hydroxyurea reduces painful episodes, suffering and improves quality of life is sickle cell patients.
Speaking at the launch in Kampala on Wednesday, 28 October 2020, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the Health minister, said through this partnership, they shall work mutually to support training of health workers to care for sickle cell patients, reduce the cost of medicines and increase its availability.
Additionally, she said, this partnership will also support the dissemination of our national sickle cell guidelines, open satellite sickle cell clinics in our hospitals and health centers in the country. .
Dr Nicholas Nanyenya, who is in charge of the sickle cell program at Ministry of Health, said through this partnership, government will disseminate sickle cell guidelines that were earlier launched this year, to health facilities to give information on how the disease should be managed, strategies on how to handle complications in sickle cell disease care like severe pain, how sickle cell disease should be diagnosed and also guide on genetic counselling among others.
More than 20000 babies in Uganda are born with sickle cell disease each year, according to Ministry of Health.